So, you’ve got a website. Tick.
Here’s the thing. In 2017, a website simply isn’t enough. More than ever it’s important to reach into the spaces your audience already engages in and, you might find, that these spaces are social networks.
Despite having been around for more than a decade social media is still misunderstood by many businesses. When we recently suggested creating a social media presence for one of our more corporate clients we were quickly rebuffed.
‘We don’t need to be on Facebook’.
In this particular case I agreed. They didn’t need to be on Facebook. Their audience were not using Facebook to discover their services. However, with no SEO on their website and no marketing strategy to speak of, they did need to extend their reach.
In this particular case we explored opportunities on LinkedIn (the social network for professionals) but it was the initial misunderstanding that played on my mind.
It’s easy to see why Facebook is often confused as encompassing all social networks. With over 1.8 billion users it is by far the largest in the world. There are however, many more options for businesses to engage with their clients.
Not every social media platform is made to connect in the same way and it’s important that your organisation:
Understands where your audience is most active
Selects platforms that align with your business goals
Has a clear budget in mind, especially if you intend to promote and sponsor social content
Has a clear content strategy in mind (what you’re going to post)
With this in mind lets take a brief look at each of the main social media platforms.
Which social network should I use?
Facebook : Not just a friend network
As mentioned above, Facebook is by far the biggest social network. It’s widely regarded as the place to connect with friends, family, celebrities and, importantly, businesses.
Facebooks strength is in its versatility. Whether we like it or not, it has so much individual data that it’s a marketers dream. From a business perspective this is incredibly powerful. Imagine wanting to engage with people that have a clear interest in your services. Using Facebook Ad’s it’s possible to drill down into demographics so that you can specify who you want your paid post/advertisement to connect with. From age and sex through to very specific interests, it’s a great way to create an instant connection.
Content is key when considering whether Facebook is right for you. As it’s a place that friends connect with each other and users select the topics they’re interested in, it’s important to create posts that engage. This is easy if you’re promoting a fresh product, talking up an exciting tech launch or wanting to let people know about an upcoming event – not so easy if you’re a mining company, stockbrokers or lawyer – with respect of course to mining companies, stockbrokers and lawyers.
There are some that think every business should have a Facebook page. We tend to disagree. If your audience is not actively using and searching for your services on Facebook, and if you think you’ll struggle creating content then it’s ok to give it a miss. There’s plenty more to choose from!
Instagram : Looking good!
In short, Instagram is a mobile image sharing platform that allows individuals and businesses to post visual content on the app. It’s core demographic is 18-29 year olds but it’s becoming increasingly popular in the 30-49 age bracket. Did we also mention that it’s owned by Facebook? Yep. Mark Zuckerberg paid a measly $1billion for it back in 2012. Not bad for a service that had only been operational for 18 months. We digress.
Given it’s content is visual Instagram is a great place to showcase product images, raise brand awareness, promote services using photos and design, talk up your team, show off projects – we could go on. Suffice to say studies indicate that visual content is one of the most important factors when marketing businesses online – which makes Instagram a go to place for marketers.
The demographic will determine whether this is the right platform for your business but it continues to rise in popularity and as cameras in mobile devices continue to improve it goes without saying that we’ll be taking more pictures, and hopefully fewer selfies.
LinkedIn : For those serious about business
Of all social networks LinkedIn is the one tailored towards individuals and organisations that take business seriously. Whether you’re a sole trader or large corporate, a student or executive, a LinkedIn profile can help you connect with like mind people and groups. It’s a virtual version of that conference you don’t want to go to. Instead of swapping business cards you connect with one another.
LinkedIn can be used to find and apply for jobs, connect with people you’re doing business with and connect with businesses that are in the same space or looking for your services. Our favourite feature is LinkedIn’s own publishing platform that allows individuals and businesses to create and post blog articles, establishing credibility and demonstrating knowledge on specific subjects.
Twitter : To Tweet or no to Tweet?
Twitter is a social media platform that allows users to publish short burst content and messages – otherwise known as microblogging.
So why is it so popular?
In a world where attention spans get shorter and more and more outlets are competing for our attention, Twitter is the perfect platform to get news, updates and information ‘on the go’. The challenge is finding users and content that’s high quality and relevant.
Twitters big (or little) difference is that it allows users 140 characters to create a post worthy of being read. It’s a great platform to push out calls to action, marketing shout outs and off the cuff thoughts (hello Donald Trump), but it may not be the place to get your in depth news.
Statistics indicate that Twitter may be in decline but that doesn’t mean you should avoid it. Twitters business advertising tools make it a relevant and powerful platform for businesses that want to connect with their tweeting audience.
Google+ : Added web power
Google Plus (Google+) is largely misunderstood. It doesn’t fall into the friendship/professional/image/rapid fire category of any of the above social networks. In fact you could argue that it all of the above – and more.
Google+ is a platform that connects directly to your Google account via Gmail. It provides you with the opportunity to configure all of Googles resources such as YouTube, Hangouts and Google Maps, and, from a business perspective, gives you the power to control how Google views and displays your business listing. More on that in a future post!
Here’s why we love Google+. It’s by Google and we know that anything happening on Google+ will be given some priority. Everything that’s posted on Google+ is indexed by Google immediately, in turn influencing search engines results. Now, we’re not saying it will single handedly push your site to page 1 but it will have a very positive influence on your sites performance.
Need to get your business onto Google+? Contact us today for more information.
Snapchat : Oh to be young
First things first, Start Digital don’t have a Snapchat account. There are a few reasons for this but mainly because we don’t feel that it’s the best platform for us to engage with our clients. That’s not to say it’s not a viable and very powerful business marketing platform.
Snapchats own statistics indicate that their core demographic is aged between 12 and 34. Messages and images on Snapchat are generally vibrant, fun and short. This is not a platform for professional discussion or corporate strategy!
The clear marketing opportunity with Snapchat is to reach a youthful audience. Their paid Snap-Ads marketing solution offers probably the best ever way to reach into the market – a full screen, 10 second video ad that appears in amongst everyday Snapchat content.
Stats indicate that Snapchat reaches 41% of all 18-34 year olds every day in the US. They’re incredible statistics and demonstrate the power of Snapchat as an advertising platform.
In summary, there are so many viable social media solutions that will compliment your online profile and help drive traffic to your web site. The key is in selecting platforms that you believe align with your broader business goals and give you a direct opportunity to connect and engage with your current and future clients.
Need help in selecting the right social media platform? Drop us a line. We’re here to help!